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How to Cut Back on Your Drinking

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Martha Wright has spent the last 20 years encouraging people to buy wine, but now her main job is helping people cut back on their alcohol consumption! The Portland Mindful Drinking/Sobriety Coach joined us to share her story and helpful insights.

How to Moderate Alcohol

86% of adults in the US drink and 80% of those who drink want to drink less. Questioning our relationship with alcohol should be no different than taking a look at our sugar or carb intake. There should be no stigma about it at all. People want to drink less but they might have found that every time they try to cut back, their drinking just ticks back up again.

  • Start by understanding how much you drink. Surprise! Most of us don’t know. (
  • Next, the best way to learn to drink more mindfully is to start with 30 days alcohol-free, using a program such as The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace which gives you mind-blowing daily content about how and why drinking becomes a habit and how to interrupt that. And treat that 30 days like a gift to yourself, filled with self-care, rest, explorations, read, (a little dark chocolate never hurts!).

After the 30 days alcohol free:

Lots of us have triggers right at 5 pm. Look at why you’re drinking. Are you hungry, tired or thirsty? A snack with good fats in it, a refreshing drink, or a brisk walk tame the craving. Then maybe enjoy one glass of wine with dinner, rather than starting the wine flowing at 5 pm which is what I used to do.

Learn to alternate non-alcoholic beverages with alcoholic ones. When you order an alcoholic drink, order a soda water and lime at the same time and drink that first; it will take care of your thirst and then you can sip and savor the alcoholic beverage with less urgency and stress.

Flex your moderating muscle by going out for mocktails – enjoy the scene, your friends, the crowd, the food, the beverage. Several bars and restaurants in Portland are leading the charge with exciting non-alcoholic drinks menus!

Flex your moderating muscle by remaining sober at different types of events. Not all at once, but over time, try attending a birthday party, a networking event, a wedding, a Halloween, a day at the beach without alcohol. Part of why we believe we need and want alcohol for all of these occasions is that we likely haven’t tried them without alcohol in decades.

The new non-alcoholic options are amazing. It used to be the non-drinker was offered a coke or a club soda. Now there is huge innovation going on all over the country with new sophisticated non-alcoholic drinks with great packaging and craft production. And Portland is not surprisingly on the cutting edge of that. Today’s non-alcoholic beers are made by true beer lovers, and are just great beers in their own right.